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The prefaces to Homer and Shakespear are, of themselves, sufficient testimonies of his extensive learning, and critical skill. The other fugitive pieces, though excellent of their kind, are too inconsiderable to claim particular animadversion.
It would be unpardonable, however, to pass over his epistolary correspondence, without distinguished notice. These are in truth not less excellent in their kind, than his poetical pieces.' In the turn of his letters, he displays that inimitable grace, in which we find all the wit, huinour, and ciljgument of Voiture, joined to the food fenfe and penetration of B----, It is not too much to say of them, that they afford the most perfect model of epistolary writing ; such as becomes a correspondence between men of virtue, wit and learning, improved by a knowledge of the world. But what principally recommends thein, is that frank sincerity, that artless naiveté, that unaffected openness, which shows the amiable and virtuous disposition of the writer*.
* It is material to observe, that it was the publication of Mr. Pope's Letters, which firit endeared him to Mr. Allen. Though he had long been acquainted with our poet, and odmired him for the excellence of his genius, yet the asperity of his satirical pieces was so repugnant to the softness and fuavity of that worthy man's disposition, that it in some de. gree ofiranged him from his intiniacy. But no rooner had be read our author's letters, than he loved him for the goodness and virtues of his heart : and ever after entertained the most cordial affection for him.
Among these epistolary pieces, however, I must not omit taking notice of the Character of the Duchess of Buckingham, which was pretended to have been penned by Mr. POPE; but in truth Mr. Pope seems to have had but little share in the composition of it, as appears by a letter of his to a friend, which is subjoined to the Character. ,
This Lady seems to have been one of those in .. whose character our author appears to have been mistaken, as appears by a letter addressed to Mr. Bethel *
* In this letter, having acquainted his friend that his house and garden were offered to him in sale, he adds“ If I thought any very particular friend would be pleased to " live in it after my death (for as it is, it serves all my pur
poses as well during life) I would purchase it ; and more “ particularly, could I hope two things, that the friend " who should like it, was so much younger, and healthier
than myself, as to have a prospect of its continuing his
some years longer than I can of its continuing mine. “ But most of those I love, are travelling out of the world,
nct into it; and unless I had such a view given me, I have " no vanity nor pleasure, that does not stop short of the grave,
" The Duchess of Buckingham has thought other“ wise, who ordered all manner of vanities for her own " funeral, and a sum of money to be squandered on it, " which is but necessary to preserve from starving many “poor people, to whom she is indebted. I doubt not Mrs. "Pratt is as much astonished as you or I, at her leaving “ Sir Robert Walpole her trustee, and Lord Hervey her " executor, with a marriage-settlement on his daughter, " that will take place of all the prior debts she has in the “world. All her private papers, and those of her correspondents, are left in the hands of Lord Hervey ; so that Dd4
e left in the papers, and asbts the hasughter,
Among our author's lesser pieces, may pron perly be classed the following copy of verses, which have never yet been printed, and for which the public is indebted to the honourable Mr. Yorke *. The verses, which appear to have been written in the year 1730, are addressed to Dr. Bolton, late Dean 'of Carlisle, who lived some time at Twickenham with old Lady Blount. On the death of her mother (Mrs. Butler of Sufsex) Dr. Bolton drew up the mother's character; from thence Mr. Pope took occafion to writé this epistle to Dr. Bolton, in the name of Mrs. Butler's spirit, now in the regions of bliss.
... i j .tk 131, litri - “ Stript to the naked soul, escap.d from clay,
“ From doubts unfetter'd, and dissolv’d in day;
i s , fic “ Why am I charm'd by friendship's fond
.." essays, l'ú ,' 7:00 FREDA " And though unbody'd, conscious of thy ist praise ?...", ni
« it is not imposible another volume of my letters may « come out. I am sure they make no part of her treasonable ļ correspondence (which they say the has expresy left tol « him) but sure this is infamous conduct towards any com
mon acquaintance. And yet this woman seemed once a 66 woman of great honour, and many generous principles."...
* We have here another instance, that the character of a · great lawyer, is not inconsistent with that of an elegant and
refined scholar. Were other instances in the profession wanting, I might point to a learned and able judge, who was giot long since promoted to one of the chief seats of judicatures
6. Has pride a portion in the parted soul ? » Does paffion still the firmless mind controul ? *Can gratitude out-pant the filent breath?
" Or a friend's forrow pierce the gloom of aya!" death?. . . 06 No--'tis a spirit's nobler task of bliss, in 5,46 That feels the worth it left, in proofs like
18:"66.thisi ..'' ... That not its own applaufe, but thine approves,
" Whofe practice praises, and whose virtue 4:17 “ loves ;
Who liv'ft to crown departed friends with
* $ fame"; 1 pr. " Then dying late, shalt all thou gav'st reir " claim."
It must not be omitted, that in the year 1740, our Author appeared once more in the character of an Editor, having given an elegant editión in two volumes octavo, printed by Messrs. Knapton, of some of the finest Latin poems of the best Italian poets. The principal in this.collection are the Syphilis of FRACASTORIUS, the Bombyx, the Poetics and the Scacchia Lusus of VIDA, the De Animorum Immortalitate of PALEARIUS, the Eclogues and Elegies of SANNAZARIUS, and the Sylva of POLITIAN. . It has been before intimated, that our author had formed a design of writing an epic poem on a story related in the old annalist, Geoffery of Monmouth, concerning the arrival of Brutus, the supposed grandson of Eneas, into our iland,
and the settlement of the first foundations of the British monarchy.
· A sketch of this intended piece, now lies before the writer of these sheets; and as the plan seems to be noble, extensive, and edifying, he trusts that an account of it will not only be entertaining, but instructive; as the design may serve as a model to employ some genius, if any there be, or shall hereafter arise, equal to the execution of such an arduous task.
The poem, as has been observed, was to have been entitled BRUTUS. As Eneas was famed for his piety, fo his grandson's characteristic tas benevolence; the firit predominant principle of his character, which prompted his endeavours to redeem the remains of his countrymen, the descendants from Troy, then captives in Greece, and to establish their freedom and felicity in a just form of government.
He goes to Epirus, from thence he travels all over Greece; collects all the scattered Trojans; and redeems them with the treasures he brought from Italy.
Having collccted his scattered countrymen, he consults the oracle of Dodona, and is promised a settlement in an iland, which, from the description, appears to have been Britain. He then puts to sea, and enters the Atlantic ocean.